A 500-point move in the Dow does not have the same impact on performance as it used to. With this in mind, we examine what a point move in the Dow means and the impact it may have on an investment portfolio.
Learn how an investment approach that employs an effective “tax-loss harvesting” strategy can help you make lemonade out of investment lemons.
This article examines relevant investment and economic data for the second quarter of 2018.
Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Fast Facts: Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are based on: December 31st account values and… A person’s life expectancy There is currently no annual RMD requirement on Roth IRAs Neglecting to take a RMD can result in a penalty of 50% on the amount of the required to be withdrawn Required Minimum Distributions: A Deeper Look Those …
Families of those with special needs have historically had limited options when accumulating funds for their loved one’s future. Especially, without jeopardizing their continued eligibility to Medicaid and other support programs. As surprising as it may seem, accumulating as little as $2,000 in a disabled person’s name could potentially render them ineligible to receive much needed assistance and access to …
This article discusses differences between 529 College Savings Plans and Coverdell Education Savings Plans
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since “Black Monday,” the day the stock market declined a whopping 22.6%! Although I was merely a sophomore in high school, I remember the day quite well. Having my first real job and being a “saver” by nature, I had just become interested in investing. I had recently invested in a …
Equifax, one of the three major credit agencies, recently revealed that they had a major security breach whereby 143 million American’s personal information (including Social Security numbers) was stolen. Click here and choose the “Potential Impact” button to find out if your personal information may have been compromised in this breach. **We do not recommend that you enroll in the Equifax “TrustedID …
The ability to contribute to Roth IRAs can represent one of the most beneficial financial planning decisions that people can make for their future. Roth IRAs were established by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and while most people are aware of the name, they may not be fully aware of all of the benefits. A Roth IRA is an …
In our article, Charitable Gifting Using Donor Advised Funds, we provided some insight into donor advised funds and listed some of the many benefits that the charitably-minded could garner from using donor advised funds as a component of their charitable gifting strategy. As a follow up to that article, we wanted to provide some information that could be helpful when vetting custodians who offer donor advised funds.
If you’re a grandparent, you likely already offer support in a lot of ways including financial and emotional. But you can also provide practical help. A frequently overlooked area where you can definitely make a difference is with your grandchildren’s personal financial education. Some of us were lucky enough to have a grandparent who we considered a great friend. We …
This article is the third of a three part series titled: 10 Years from Retirement, What is your financial focus? In Part 1, we discussed the importance of tracking and managing your living expenses, as well as, making projections around how much you will spend in retirement. We also stressed the importance of making strategic Social Security decisions. In Part 2, we explored pension decisions, …
Happy 2017! As we begin a new year, it’s always important to re-examine certain elements of your financial plan – especially things that relate to tax planning. Here are a few of the more common items that may impact your financial situation this year. Social Security & Medicare Part B For those receiving Social Security, there is a cost of living …
We, at Beacon Financial Strategies, believe strongly that the most effective investment strategy is one that is developed within the context of a financial plan and customized to meet your personal risk profile and return requirements. Click here to learn more about our investment philosophy. Research has proven time and again that it is impossible to consistently time the financial markets, by …
Donor advised funds can be a great tool in your charitable gifting strategy. This article discusses attributes and unique features of donor advised funds.
If you’re 10 years or so away from retirement, you’ve probably spent at least some time thinking about what your life will look like after retirement. How will you manage the transition? Will you travel, take up a new sport or hobby, or spend more time with friends and family? Should you consider relocating? Will you continue to work in some …
Have you ever heard of an “investment glide path?” It is an important concept for retirees and pre-retirees to consider. Choosing the correct glide path could make an enormous impact on your financial well-being in retirement.
Parents with special needs children can face a unique set of financial challenges. However, like all financial challenges, it is important to take measures early to financially prepare for the future. Here are a number of financial planning ideas and considerations for those parents who have special needs children.
Here are answers to a number of common questions regarding your Social Security benefits.
On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, legislation that raises the federal debt limit and establishes the framework for a two-year budget deal. The legislation, necessary to avoid an impending default on U.S. debt, also contains multiple unrelated provisions, including an elimination of two Social Security retirement benefit claiming strategies and a …
Small business owners have a number of alternatives to choose from when it comes to establishing retirement plans for their business. Each plan type can vary in their contribution level and matching requirements, as well as their ongoing regulatory and administrative burden. In order to make an informed decision as to the type of retirement plan that works best for you, it is important that you consider the specifics of your business.
This article explores four elements of an investor’s risk profile – risk capacity, risk required, risk tolerance and risk perception. Understanding each type of risk is an essential element of building an investment portfolio that can both meet your specific investment needs, while allowing you to sleep easy during times of personal and financial stress.
Increasingly, families have to figure out how to best deal with dementia and other memory-related impairments that naturally happen as people age. This is especially true when navigating the complex and often times confusing area of personal finances. So, what can you do to prepare yourself should you, or a member of your immediate family develop dementia? Here are a few ideas that you may find helpful.
Find out the maximum contribution limits that can be made to most retirement savings accounts including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, traditional and Roth IRAs for 2015.
There is no doubt that pensions are an extremely important asset and making decisions regarding these plans can be daunting and stressful. This is especially true since pension decisions are irrevocable! This article addresses common questions that should be considered when making decisions about your pension.
It looks like 2014 is going to be a huge year for mutual funds making capital gain distributions. While on the surface capital gains sounds like a good deal, but in reality they can pose a tax nightmare for some investors – especially people who invest in mutual funds in non-retirement (taxable) accounts. This article explains the problem with mutual fund distributions and provides a resource for those performing year-end tax planning.
Are you seeking ideas to reduce your tax burden this year? This article provides insight into a number of financial planning strategies that could prove effective at reducing your taxes in 2014.
In order to make your meeting with the estate planning attorney more efficient and productive, here are few items that you need to think about or decide on.
Normally, when someone mentions hybrids they are referring to fuel-efficient, money-saving cars. Like hybrid cars, the intention of hybrid long term care insurance policies is to provide cost-saving insurance coverage by combining both life insurance (or an annuity) with long term care coverage.
Many people have questions regarding their Social Security retirement benefits. This article addresses several of the more common questions that people often ask us.
When it comes to taking account distributions in retirement, which account is best – IRAs, Roth IRAs, Brokerage accounts or 401k plans? Also, are there tax strategies that could be employed now to minimize taxes in the future?
With over 20 years in the investment industry, we have helped clients navigate through a number of economic and market cycles. Through the years, we have developed our own set of descriptive names that are used as an indication of where we are in the market cycle. These names are generally based on client emotions and range from “malaise” to “exuberance”. Currently, we are in what we call the “investor complacency” phase.
Chip Hymiller, CFP® was recently interviewed on the show Community Matters with host, Bill LuMaye. The topic for the show was financial wellness. Chip’s segment of the show highlighted the need to prioritize financial goals, manage debt and develop a strategic long term plan.
Do you know what to expect when it comes to the cost of health care during retirement? Projecting health care costs is a major component for those who are approaching retirement. Find out how much you could spend.
Is it best to contribute to your company sponsored 401k plan, a Roth IRA, or a personal brokerage account? The answer depends on many factors.
When it comes to financial planning, one of the easiest and most important things to accomplish is an overall review of your estate plan. We suggest that you review your estate plan every couple of years or when there are changes in your family that may impact your estate planning. Here is a checklist of estate planning items to review that may be helpful.
There are a number of important tax law changes that may impact your financial planning decisions this year. Here are several of the most common changes that you need to be aware of.
With the changing of the year, it is important to review your retirement savings strategy. Here are the 2014 contribution limits for the most common types of retirement plans.
Through hard work and sound financial planning, some find themselves in situations in which they are contemplating intra-family financial planning. That is, identifying financial planning techniques that can be used to financially strengthen the next generation—children and grandchildren.
Emotions can play a major role when it comes to investing. Understanding common investor biases can help prevent costly investment mistakes.
Is the economy strengthening, or will economic growth stall with the discontinuation of quantitative easing? Here are some thoughtsto consider.
The Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) was signed into law in 2010, but many of the provisions do not commence until 2013 and beyond. So, what does that mean for you? In this article, we will explore the new health insurance mandate and specifically, how it may impact your income taxes.
When taking withdrawals from your investment portfolio during retirement, making tax-efficient decisions can save you thousands. Find out how…
When planning for retirement, it is important to consider the possibility of an extended need for long term care. Can your assets withstand the cost of long term care? Under what circumstances should long term care insurance be considered?
This video discusses several important reasons why tax planning is such an integral component of the financial planning process.
Let’s face it, in today’s world, managing your personal financial affairs can be complex. There are many decisions that need to be made on a weekly or even daily basis. For a large and growing segment of the population, who are trying to help (often unwilling) aging parents with their finances, this can be incredibly frustrating, stressful and burdensome.
With nationwide college costs continuing to rise, it has never been more important for parents to develop a savings strategy to help cover these costs.
For the last several weeks, the media spent a great deal of time covering the fiscal cliff and the upcoming changes in the tax code. At the eleventh hour, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that seeks to solve some of the tax questions that have been hanging over our heads for the last several months.
An adequately planned and properly executed estate plan can ensure that your assets will pass directly to your intended heirs with the least amount of cost and hassle. Here are seven essential elements when establishing a sound estate plan:
Contribution limits to IRAs and other employer-sponsored retirement plans have changed for 2013. Here are the most recent deferral limitations:
Coverdell Education Savings Account can be a great solution for parents who would like to save money for future college costs.
Do you want to take control of your finances? If so, find out what you need to do now to begin making progress toward your financial goals.
Small business owners have a number of alternatives to choose from when it comes to establishing retirement plans for their business. Each plan type can vary in their contribution level and matching requirements, as well as their ongoing regulatory and administrative burden.
Do you need disability income insurance? This article addresses important considerations to help you decide.
One of the most pronounced fears for retirees is outliving their assets. Taking portfolio withdrawals that are sustainable over an extended retirement period is an important decision and one that should not be taken lightly.
How do you track the cost basis on investments held in your taxable portfolio? What portfolio accounting method does your broker, custodian or advisor report to you or your CPA? This is a decision that, for some investors, can save thousands of dollars in taxes and ultimately make a significant difference in a portfolio’s after-tax rate of return.
There are a number of indexes that attempt to measure the performance of the financial markets and serve as a gauge of economic activity. The following are descriptions of several of the most common indexes:
This whiteboard sketch video from HighTower Advisors is a great video that beautifully illustrates the difference between fiduciary advisors and brokers.
Roth IRAs are great savings mechanisms and can be used effectively for retirement and education planning. One of the less publicized advantages to Roth IRAs is that they can be a great estate planning technique when someone wants to pass along as much as possible to their heirs.
When we begin new client engagements, one of the first things we review is whom our clients have chosen as their primary and contingent beneficiaries on life insurance policies, qualified plans and IRAs. There have been many occasions that we discover a serious mistake or oversight during this process.
One of the major goals that most people have is to, at some point, be debt free. This is a goal that we (Chip and Erin) strive for in our personal lives and we highly encourage our clients to prudently consider as well. In fact, research has consistently shown that people with manageable debt levels tend to be happier than …
Parents have many different options when it comes to saving for their children’s educations. There are UTMAs, savings bonds, Roth IRAs, Coverdell Education Savings accounts and 529 Plans, just to name a few. Each person’s savings strategy is different depending on how the money will be used, the income of the parents, the future cost of the education and the …
Parents with special needs children can face a unique set of financial challenges. However, like all financial challenges, it is important to take measures early to financially prepare for the future. Here are a number of financial planning ideas and considerations for those parents who have special needs children:
We often receive questions about how long certain financial records should be retained. The IRS, through Publication 552, offers some guidance with regard to recordkeeping for individuals. Their recommendations are based on the following deadlines:
In a prior article, we discussed the importance of maintaining an emergency fund. We offered our insight into how much is appropriate to keep in cash or savings, as well as emergency fund targets. As a result of that article, we were asked the question: “Where can I invest my emergency fund, such that it earns an interest rate that …
Do you know the factors to consider when establishing an emergency savings account? This article discusses things to consider when establishing and maintaining an emergency savings fund.
On the surface, it would seem that the decision to begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits is a straight-forward one – take the money as soon as possible. However, for many people, taking their Social Security retirement benefit as soon as they become eligible may not be the best alternative.
A major consideration when conducting a retirement feasibility analysis for clients is how potential long term care costs would be covered. With the cost of long term care increasing at a projected rate of 5% to 7% for the foreseeable future, in ten years from now a three year stay in the average facility in North Carolina could cost upwards …
I can tell you from experience that children grow up fast! It is very hard for me to believe that my sweet daughter, Abbey, will be starting kindergarten soon. Five years have passed in the blink of an eye!
Section 529 College Savings Plans can be an excellent tool when saving for college. While there are many benefits when using the 529 Plan, there are also a number of drawbacks. Here are a number of frequently asked questions:
With the belief that tax rates are likely to rise over time, many people are considering the merits of converting their traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. Here are a number of considerations that may impact your decision.
During retirement, is it best to take distributions from IRAs, Roth IRAs or personal brokerage or savings accounts? The decision of “Which account?” is an important one with many factors to consider.
Social Security was originally intended to provide older Americans with continuing income after retirement. As people approach retirement, they generally have questions about Social Security and the benefit it provides.
Long term care costs are expensive and rising every year. For many, a two or three year stay in a skilled nursing facility could cost several hundred thousand dollars and potentially wipe out a retirement nest egg.
Many financial planning objectives can be accomplished through the utilization of trusts. Here are several of the most common types of trusts and a brief overview of their purpose:
This article discusses several simple items that can help ease the estate settlement burden on your heirs.
One of the most important financial decisions people face with regard to retirement planning is when to start taking their Social Security retirement benefit. Making the most of this decision requires careful consideration of a number of variables including tax, cash flow and even elder care issues. The economic downturn has forced many families to consider taking Social Security earlier than expected. With that in mind, here are some ideas to consider, when making this important decision.
I have learned that one of the most effective ways to get things done is to work from a “To Do” list. In that spirit, here are a number of very important items that, upon completion, will certainly strengthen your financial situation. The best part…the entire list can be completed in 2 hours!